Lionel Messi got his first red card for Barcelona after trying to rush past Athletic Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre who tried to block him and draw a foul from the referee. And the referee was right there near the play. It worked. Messi got a red card. After playing 753 games for Barcelona this was amazingly Messi’s first red card.
In the final of the Spanish Super Cup, Messi angrily tried to get Asier Villalibre out of the way as he was trying to rush into the box and tie the game.
On one hand the pushing of Villalibre away, Messi’s arms up near Villalibre’s head and neck, looks bad but really it was Villalibre who was trying to draw a card and foul on Messi and it worked. A move that forced the referee to pull out a red card after consulting with VAR.
However, if you look at the play Villalibre bumps into Messi, tries to block him after Messi plays the ball out wide and then brushes into Messi and puts his body into Messi so he can’t break into the box a second time when Messi tries to get him out of the way.
And watch in the video below how Villalibre grabs his face after he goes down.
Unfortunately for Messi, Barcelona lost the match and I’m sure that’s all he really cares about. Sure, Messi might have deserved a card, since he pushes Villalibere up near his head, but really it was Villalibre who pushed into Messi in the first place. In fact, all game long Villalibre was doing his best impression of Diego Costa, and it worked.
What’s more, Messi is coming off a recent injury and still fighting to score and tie the game in extra time. If VAR looked back a second more from the play they’d see that Messi was blocked not once but twice.